The survey was completed in June and July by nearly 800 respondents, representing 4,170 restaurant locations across Ontario, including franchises. To keep their businesses afloat, 98 per cent of survey respondents said they will have to raise menu prices, 97 per cent said they will have to reduce labour hours, 81 per cent said they will have to lay off staff, 74 per cent said they will have to explore labour-saving technology such as self-service touch screens and 26 per cent said they may close one or more locations.
“The survey results are not surprising, given the average pre-tax profit margin for a restaurant operator is just 3.4 per cent,” says James Rilett, Restaurants Canada’s vice-president (VP) for central Canada. “The government’s drastic minimum wage hikes will reduce profitability forcing restaurateurs to lay off staff, reduce employment or close their doors. Many of our members just don’t know how to cope with a wage increase of this magnitude.”